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Showing posts from December, 2009

Short Tall Tale Written with Ustreamers

No offense to anyone--school is great!--this is just a short tall tale that I wrote with Ustream viewers, exaggerating the fear that comes with the first day of school.

 It was Marisa Svitka’s first day of school in the first grade, a day which her mother said was auspicious, and Marisa was approaching it with the dread that comes with impending doom.
      She walked toward the sprawling, colossal elementary school, with its imposing double doors and the frightening sound of hundreds of children laughing. Marisa felt as though everyone was laughing at her.
      She walked inside, feeling as drained and frightened as if she had just walked into the jaws of a hippo, and what should she see but the terrifying visage of the principal.




My Writing on the Educators' Royal Treatment

I've talked about it for a long time...and here it is! My writing about education, from The Educators' Royal Treatment. Check it out!

12/04/2009

You Can't Get Too Much of a Good Thing (NOT!)

Not to brag, but I usually get good grades in school (I go to an online public school, the Washington Virtual Academies). There’s nothing wrong with getting good grades, but it can irk me when I get 100% on my writing assignment for the eighth time, without much constructive criticism. I think that it’s important to realize that even the most exemplary of students need, and want, suggestions and feedback. It’s reasonable that better work should get a higher grade, but you can also go beyond the rubric—and give your students new perspectives to think about.

There’s a danger to praising students too much and always giving good grades—the student gets a certain sense of complacency. We might be tempted to think, “Oh, the teacher will always give us 100%. We don’t have to work that hard.” On…

Tree House Descriptive Passage Written with Fourth Graders

We built our tree house in our backyard, which gave
us lots of space. When you walk by our house, you
can't miss the tree house, because it's very tall--
and it's also brightly striped with red and white, just
like a candy cane. The door is square and made
out of non-perishable gingerbread. In fact, the
whole tree house is edible, which means that we will
have a big candy feast after Christmas is over.
To get into the tree house, you climb a ladder made
out of really, really hard gingerbread. Once inside,
you're rewarded by the sweet smell of fresh-baked
cookies, gingerbread, and candy canes. 

Story Beginning Written With Sixth Graders over Video Conferencing

William Bradford was no chef—he knew it, and his mother knew it, and most of the pizza-eating population of San Francisco knew it too well.
William had, until recently, worked at a charming little pizzeria called Rosemarie’s. It served pizza, pasta, and drinks, and it had been short on staff. So it hired William.
William was not a chef by nature. His parents cooked most of his food for him. When they didn’t, he ate cup noodles. This was the extent of his culinary prowess. Nevertheless, the pizzeria made him Head Chef and started him on pizzas right away.
It had been a cool, sunny morning when William’s very first customer walked in. Todd Giant was a short, heavyset man with two greasy bald spots on his head. He loved eating pizza.
“I’d like a double-thick pizza pie with triple toppings of chopped jalapenos, crumbled Oreos, and buttered anchovies.”
“OK,” William said, writing the order down. “Do you want that with soy sauce?”
“Yes, and lots of it!” Todd said, with a loud belch. He had just …

Beginning of Story Written with Sixth Graders Over Video Conferencing

Setting: San Bernardino Mountains
Characters: John—very short, very grumpy. He is the son.
Jess—she’s very humorous, and can make people laugh; she has brown hair. She’s the mom.
Bob—he’s very smart; he’s tall. He can be very klutzy sometimes.

It was an unusually cold Monday for California, and John, Jess, and Bob were vacationing in the San Bernardino Mountains. John, who was being a grumpy teenager as usual, said pessimistically,
“It looks like snow.”
“Come on, John, it’s California,” Jess (John’s mom) said lightly. “Anyway, even if it does snow, it won’t matter that much. We don’t have to get back until Wednesday, and—”
“WOAH!” John’s dad, Bob, yelled as he tripped over the phonebook that lay on the floor, then knocked the bedside lamp off the table.
“Um,” he said, embarrassed. “Well, what were you saying, Jess?”
“We don’t have to get back before Wednesday,” she said calmly. Her husband had tripped over things before.
“I was right, Mom!” John crowed triumphantly. “It’s snowing.”
The whole f…